Pledge on welfare of Fife’s care home residents

THE welfare of residential care home residents, their families and all those who use respite and day care services in Fife comes first.

That’s the assurance from Rona Laing, head of older people services with Fife Council, following concerns aired after the decision by the social work and health committee to review local authority residential, day care and respite provision.

Councillors refused to rule out the closure of residential care homes, including Northeden House in Cupar.

“When it comes to the care of the elderly in our care now and in the future, their needs come first and foremost – there is absolutely no dispute about this and a point on which we are all agreed,” said Ms Laing.

“Our staff are well respected and held in high regard by those they care and support and the professionalism of staff has been recognised in the most recent Care Commission reports.

“That will continue as we start a process of engagement which will help shape and inform who and where care is provided.

“Our buildings, some of which are now over 40 years old, have served us well but if we are to do right by those we care for now and in the future we must act now.

“Our engagement and consultation programme is the start of a conversation and as the custodians of the welfare of those who are most vulnerable in our communities our clear and present goal is to ensure that their needs are met now and in the future.”

As all local authorities await the announcement from Scottish Government on the impact of the UK Government’s comprehensive spending review, social work services in Fife are anticipating savings of a minimum of £30 million up to 2014.

Ms Laing continued: “Fife now has the opportunity to really influence the long term strategic direction and the culture change required to deliver services to those who are most vulnerable in our community.

“But whatever changes are made, our aim remains to provide sustainable, affordable and first class care.”

A programme of engagement is now being finalised and will be rolled out across Fife in the coming weeks.